Friday, January 18, 2013

Avoiding the Mistakes

Humans are fallible and that makes us special because we can reason.

I'm watching Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey - and he said that, look... I've made mistakes, we all do...
Lance said that the word 'cheat' is for people who gain an unfair advantage over others. Based on that, he was not a cheat, he was playing on a leveled field... this is what he said.
To which Oprah said, but you are Lance Armstrong - you are held to a higher standard.

Isn't that unfair? Just because somebody is more popular, he/ she is not allowed to 'cheat'.
It's an interesting conundrum...

And this goes to the effects of popular behaviour... when many people do a 'something', does it become acceptable behaviour?
The broken windows theory - a run down house has its windows intact for a long time until one day, somebody comes by and throws a stone, breaks a window and walks away... Over time, as other people see the broken window, they believe it's OK to break more windows for fun. Eventually, all windows are broken.

We use this in our lives everyday.
Well, that guy just threw plastic on the street - I guess it's OK to do so.
My uncle told me that only fools pay full taxes - hell! I ain't gonna pay up...

We use reason from time to time and say that, 'Well, it's wrong to do so and so...But... just this once."
We succumb to group behaviour.
People are docile when alone and in groups, they can wreak havoc - think gang rapes, looting, rioting, protesting.

We play a game in our lives where we battle with elements much bigger than ourselves - based on that, it is difficult to win; the best that most can do is to avoid mistakes.

The slippery slope - we are all prey to it. We find ways to justify unacceptable behaviour; it may be unacceptable by your mind, your body, by the people around you or by some other barometers.

'Just this once, I am going to cheat on my diet" And there we go... we make it a habit.
Not paying taxes is acceptable behaviour justified easily by saying that the government does barely anything for us. It's as though we take a democracy for granted. Look it countries in Africa, look at Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka - most of our neighbours - many other countries. We have had a 60+ year democracy without military rule - that is an amazing fact. Very few countries make it.
The slippery slope is difficult to avoid.
We make a habit of exaggerations, white lies, falsifying data, self-adulation.

Humans are fallible and that makes us special because we can reason.
Sadly, most people stop reasoning. It's just too hard.

Angry people become stubborn. They create irrefutable arguments. They make their own decisions which may not make sense. They go through with them because ego rears its ugly head.

Avoid the mistakes.
Stay away from negative influences and use a rational head.
Keep a diary.
Question the norm.

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